Registered Student Organization Handbook

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1 Registered Student Organization Handbook 1

2 Table of Contents Section 1 Introduction and Welcome Section 2 What it means to be a Registered Student Organization Section 3 Organizational Practices, Recruitment, Meetings, and Conflict Section 4 Finances Section 5 Event Planning and Programming Guide Section 6 Policies Section 7 Closing Appendix 1 Campus Resources 2

3 Section 1: Introduction and Welcome Greetings, As members of the UMass Student Involvement and Activities (SA&I) team, we would like to welcome you to the academic year. Your involvement in student organizations can play a positive role in your college experience and influence the greater UMass community. Our role is to help you and your organization(s) maximize your potential by building character, engaging in collaboration, and promoting campus-wide and global citizenship. The Student Organization Handbook is the first step in fulfilling this role. This handbook will provide you and your organization with tools and resources to navigate your way through the complex and ever-changing nature of the University of Massachusetts. The student organizations of today will be able to shape the culture, reputation, and history of the UMass of tomorrow. From cultural showcases to national competitions to local and global service projects, student organizations present an opportunity for students to express passion, reflect on experiences, and understand diverse voices and perspectives. During your time at the University of Massachusetts we hope that you take the opportunity to explore multiple organizations to expand your knowledge and experiences. Along with this handbook, we have created a student organization resource series that includes workshops, videos, and handouts regarding areas of policy knowledge, financial management, organizational management, and community building. Be sure to check out Campus Pulse to see our upcoming events and access our online resource. We hope that this handbook serves as a valuable tool for your organization s success and we look forward to working with you and your organization. Your experiences as a student leader at UMass will be challenging and rewarding, and we are excited to see what you accomplish. Go UMass! ~ UMass Student Activities & Involvement Team 416 Student Union Building

4 About Us University of Massachusetts Student Activities & Involvement UMass Student Activities & Involvement (SA&I) strives to offer the UMass community with support for event planning and campus programming needs. Our multiple unique teams provide a wide array of services available to UMass community members. SA&I is made up of Student Activities, Fraternities and Sororities, and the Student Organization Resource Center (The SORC). Mission & Goals Student Activities and Involvement strives to be an office that is student-centric and recognizes learning takes place both in and out of the classroom, and that creates opportunities for students to expand their knowledge and skills in new settings. An office that is exemplary of the best practices in stewardship and fosters innovation. An office that provides integrated support services that embrace and further the strategic goals and initiatives of the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Life An office that is resourceful and channels efficiencies into furthering the co-curricular student experience and the goals of the department. An office that seeks to increase the overall campus presence of student leadership and community service. Offices Within Student Activities & Involvement Student Activities Student Activities & Involvement helps keep most of UMass Amherst s student life running smoothly: student organizations, the Student Government Association, student businesses, fraternities and sororities, student success centers and multicultural resources. Although most of the organizations within Student Activities are fueled by student members, the Student Activities staff provides essential assistance and oversight, helping students successfully run their organizations. They also help the groups work together and find common ground in their programming and events. Student Activities resources include help with managing organizations, financial record keeping, purchasing and payroll, budgeting, fundraising and grant seeking. Each RSO is assigned a Student Activities Advisor and Account Specialist. These are the people that you will work with when planning events, traveling, and applying for funds. Your Student Activities Advisor is a resource that you and your RSO should stay in contact with on a regular basis. Office of Fraternities and Sororities Collectively, fraternities and sororities constitute one of the largest student groups on campus, and membership makes up about 5.5% of the undergraduate population. Fraternities and sororities are about scholarship, community service, philanthropy, brotherhood, sisterhood, leadership, and lifelong friendships. It's about bettering the UMass Amherst community and the Town of Amherst through service and social functions. It's about traditions, learning valuable lessons, and establishing life-long friendships. It's about shaping the identity of one of the nation's most prestigious campuses with a continuing fraternity presence since

5 Student Organization Resource Center The SORC The Student Organization Resource Center or SORC is the first stop for RSO questions and support. The SORC is staffed by students trained in skills to support RSOs and their members. Many of the student staff members are members and leaders of RSOs themselves and they have firsthand knowledge of what is needed to function as an RSO here at UMass. The SORC is where your RSO mailbox is located as well as computers and printers, SA&I documents and forms and where you can make appointments to meet with SA&I staff. Student Government Association (SGA) The SGA is a group of undergraduate students elected by the UMass student body. The main duties of the SGA in regards to RSOs are: Advocate for the needs of students and student groups Oversee the Student Activities Trust Fund Run the annual budget process, through which money is allocated to RSO for the upcoming year Review and approve new RSOs Organize and allocate office space within the Student Union Building Provide emergency funding to RSOs throughout the year Secretary of Registry: The Secretary of the Registry interacts with many student groups to help prepare them to become and operate as Registered Student Organizations (RSOs). The Secretary is the person who helps acclimate students to our RSO processes and affirms the success of our newest organizations. The Secretary of Registry s job is to represent RSOs to administration, defend them from unfair policy changes, and represent their best interests, with consultation from many differing groups. The Secretary of the Registry also oversees student office spaces in the Student Union/Campus Center complex and provides access to three different conference rooms. RSO promotion and the New RSO Process are some of the largest projects undertaken for the year. Section 2: What it Means to be an RSO There are a few types of student organizations. This handbook primarily focuses on undergraduate organizations recognized by the Student Government Association as RSOs. The end of this section will cover basic information regarding other types of student organizations. Before getting started it is important to understand the context in which you will operate as an RSO. The RSO designation is awarded by the Student Government Association (SGA) and gives groups certain rights and responsibilities. It provides groups with official recognition as part of the University, but also makes them subject to all policies and procedures that govern the operation of a large, complex institution. Authority and responsibility for these operations begins with the Board of Trustees and is delegated downward through the University hierarchy. For student activities, the Trustees authorized the creation of the Student Activities Trust Fund (SATF) to provide an accounting framework for all activities. The mandatory Student Activities Fee that is required of all undergraduate students is put into the SATF and distributed by the SGA to provide funding for student organizations and programs. 5

6 As an officer and a member of an RSO it is important that you are aware of all levels of accountability and that you remember that you and your RSO represent the University and the student body at all times Definition of an RSO As defined by the SGA, all Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) shall be associations composed primarily of undergraduate students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which are democratically directed by their members, independent, and registered by the Student Government Association. Each RSO shall enhance the social, cultural, educational, and/or recreational experience of undergraduate students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A two-thirds majority of the members of an RSO must be undergraduate students enrolled at UMass Amherst. No less than ten UMass undergraduate student members must be active members of the RSO at all times. For the purpose of this definition, membership shall refer to active members with full voting and participation rights. Membership must be voluntary and actively entered into by each member, and may not be automatically established. This definition does not preclude an RSO from establishing additional classes of membership defined in alternative ways. Officers must be full-time undergraduate students. To become an RSO, members of the organization must complete an activation packet. In simple terms, RSO status can be granted to a group of ten undergraduate students who share a similar interest that is not being met on campus. The ten students must complete the activation packet and all required information and submit the packet to the Secretary of the Registry. For more information please see the SGA Bylaws Relationship to UMass The University of Massachusetts Amherst campus is designated as an educational environment for the intellectual growth and enjoyment of its community members. Student organizations, part of the UMass experience since its creation, are a vibrant and enriching part of the student life on campus. UMass recognizes the distinct and permanent influence that student organizations have on the campus community and learning. The actions and views of student organizations at UMass do not necessarily represent the views of the University. It is import to realize that the conduct of you and your RSO members reflect on the University and that improper behavior may be reported to the Dean of Students. Benefits of Being an RSO The following rights and privileges are accorded to all Registered Student Organizations: Recognition by the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an official Registered Student Organization, lending legitimacy when requesting public figures to present at RSO events, when publicizing activities, and when fundraising Use of university facilities and services such as indoor and outdoor space, A/V equipment, and vans for travel, either for free or at a discount Insurance when a group is off-campus or traveling, and assistance in case of emergency. Access to purchase from vendors at special low UMass contract prices 6

7 Status as an educational, non-profit organization, with exemption from Massachusetts state sales tax on RSO purchases; large donations can be tax deductible for the donor. Free access to tables on the Campus Center concourse for information, recruitment and fundraising purposes Access to Campus Pulse to: o store important RSO documents in a permanently accessible location -- documents such o o o o o o as how to produce your annual events keep your membership list/contact info message some or all of your members with a click hold discussions on your wall store photos hold elections use the Interests feature to get your RSO and its events suggested to Campus Pulse users with the same interests Right to free legal assistance from SLSO (Title VII, Chapter 3) Assistance from Student Activities in the way of mail and telephone service, scheduling space, event development, leadership training and organizational development, financial accounts and budgeting support and recruitment (Activities Expo). Benefits of Participating in an RSO RSOs develop the following transferable real-world skills in students: Teamwork Creativity (conceiving of activities their RSO will do) Event planning / preparation / coordination Financial management o Budgeting o Monitoring expenditures and accounts Marketing / Publicity / graphic design / Public speaking Organizational development (how to make the RSO ever more effective) Conflict resolution Leadership/Supervision / Delegation / Mentoring Evaluation/assessment after event over In addition, participation in an RSO enriches the lives of students by providing them with opportunities for social and recreational enjoyment, growth in their fields of interest, and resume-building. 7

8 Starting a New RSO Student must follow these steps to start a new Registered Student Organization: 1. Formulate a clear purpose for your group. a. Check Campus Pulse to ensure similar groups do not exist. If one or more does, feel free to reach out to them to talk about joining or possibly incorporating your ideas into their already existing RSO. 2. Make sure that you have at least ten members who are interested in joining the organization. This includes 4 members who will be a part of the executive board (President, treasurer, Vice President, and Secretary). Keep in mind, that to ensure the continuity of the organization, not all members can be seniors, and all members must be undergraduates of the 5-College Consortium, 2/3 being UMass undergraduate students. 3. Set up a meeting with the Secretary of the Registry and inquire about any upcoming application deadlines, and the Secretary will advise you in more detail on the process of becoming an RSO. At this time, you will be able to ask any questions regarding the benefits of being an RSO, funding from SGA, using space on campus, etc. You will also be given specific instructions on how to fill out the application. 4. Fill out Application & Write a Constitution Once you have consulted with the Secretary of the Registry you can go ahead and fill out the application, which will be on the Campus Pulse website. A significant portion of this application will consist of filling out your RSO s charter/constitution. Constitutions must have the following components: a. Officials RSO name b. The RSO s mission or purpose statement c. The RSO s requirements for membership d. The role and responsibilities of the RSO officers e. The requirements for voting on group issues f. The structure and timing for officer elections g. The requirements for amending the constitution A sample constitution can be found on Campus Pulse or on the SGA website. 5. Make your RSO sustainable (Input SGA expectations) This can be done in various ways: a. Considering not having all your original offices be seniors b. Simply thinking about or even outlining in your constitution, ways to recruit new members/inspire interest in your RSO for future students c. Bringing more than just your officers to the new RSO orientation workshop (like younger students who show an interest in becoming future officers) d. Coming up with an effective system of training newly elected officers to be knowledgeable leaders of the RSO 6. If your application has been approved and recognized by the Secretary of the Registry, you will receive an containing the dates and times of a New RSO Orientation Workshop. You will be required to attend the orientation, in order to learn how to handle the daily financial and logistical operations of an RSO, and attend the Signature Responsibility training. It is required that the President and Treasurer (or equivalent) of your organization attend this workshop, although it would be great for all the executive leadership, or all new members, at larger, to attend. Upon completing the New RSO Orientation Workshop, you will be fully active, and able to function as an RSO of the SGA. 8

9 The SGA meets every Monday night at 7:00pm to review old business and discuss new business. Applications for new RSOs are accepted by the deadlines set by the SGA. For more information about the application process please visit the SGA website or contact the SGA Secretary of Registry. RSO Councils Every RSO is part of a council, depending of the category of the RSO. The councils are organizations comprised of a representative from each RSO that share related characteristics. There are 8 Councils: Academic, Advocacy/Political, Arts & Media, Cultural, Greek, Sports Council, Leadership and Service, Religious and Spiritual. The SA&I office is currently advising RSOs through this council method, however the goal is for every council to become recognized by the SGA in order to request their budget as a collective, giving RSOs more power and voice when processing and requesting their budget. RSO Status Being an RSO is not as easy as getting your friends together and receiving approval from the SGA. Once your organization receives RSO status is must keep it. In order to function as an active RSO there are a number of requirements that must be met every year. If these requirements are not met then your RSO will be moved from active to frozen, locked or withdrawn status. Active New RSOs are considered active once they receive approval form the SGA and they complete New RSO Training. New RSO Training is held in the fall, and the New RSO training will be held in the spring. New RSO Training is not all-inclusive and you will be required to follow up in the SORC or with your SA&I Advisor for more detailed information. New RSOs must have their President and Treasurer complete online Signature Responsibility Training as well. Once New RSO Training and Signature Responsibility Training are complete the RSO is active and ready to conduct RSO business. RSOs can be moved from active status to frozen, locked or inactive at the discretion of the SGA and/or SA&I. Reasons for losing active status include but are not limited to not meeting the requirements needed to be an RSO, poor financial management, Dean of Students and disciplinary issues, poor communication with SA&I, poorly representing the University at RSO functions, and hazing and alcohol use. Frozen If your RSO is frozen it is one step away from being considered an active RSO. This means that you recently lost your active status because a requirement was not met. Being frozen also means that your Campus Pulse page is no longer active or visible to people looking for your group. You may not have the required RSO officers or completed Signature Responsibility. It may mean that you missed Activation Training or RSO Registration. It may also mean that you are not communicating with SA&I. Being frozen means that your RSO is not able to function, hold RSO events, travel, or use RSO funds. In order to become unfrozen and regain active status you will need to meet with SA&I staff and figure out why you are frozen and what you need to do to change your status. Locked If your RSO is locked it has done something more than miss Activation Training or Registration. Being locked usually means that your RSO has been frozen for at least 2 semesters and has not been working with SA&I. Being locked will require you to do more than just complete Signature Responsibility training or Activation Training; you may need to meet with SA&I and the SGA to become active again. 9

10 Inactive If your RSO has reached inactive status it has not been active for at least 4 semesters. When an RSO becomes inactive it is removed from Campus Pulse and loses all financial accounts and support from SA&I. Inactive RSOs must reapply to the SGA and, if approved, they must complete all the necessary steps needed to become active, often the same steps as starting a new RSO. Other Types of Student Organizations Agencies According to the SGA bylaws, agencies are co-curricular organizations, operating under the guidance and supervision of a full time staff member of Graduate Student Assistant which provides services to the University of Massachusetts Amherst students, including but not limited to advocacy, activities, or media. Fraternity and Sorority Life The UMass Greek community offers undergraduates a fraternal experience that complements the mission of the University. In partnership with faculty, staff, alumni, families, and (inter)national organizations, we challenge and educate students in the areas of leadership, cultural awareness, personal and group development, scholarship, and civic responsibility. Fraternities & Sororities have been an integral part of UMass from the early days. Greek organizations at UMass are made up of groups of individuals with various interests. They are bonded together by common goals and aspirations. These bonds are strengthened by honor, friendship, truth, knowledge, and character. Greek membership carries with it many benefits including leadership opportunities, academic support, an emphasis on service, and a bond of brotherhood and sisterhood. Student Activities & Involvement recognizes that fraternities and sororities are an integral part of the campus community and can have a positive impact for members and non-members. The privilege of fraternities and sororities to exist as part of the University brings with it a high level of responsibility. To achieve mutual success for the University and its Greek organizations, there must be trust and shared responsibility. Fraternity and sorority chapters and the governing councils are part of the Recognized/Registered Student Organization (RSO) program, and are entitled to the same privileges and have the same responsibilities as all student organizations. Chapters and councils are provided advising and event development support through SA&I, and chapters/councils must complete the necessary requirements established by SA&I and the SGA to maintain an active status on the campus. These are the following existing Greek Councils on campus: Interfraternity Council The Interfraternity Council is the governing body of the fraternities that are affiliated with the North- American Interfraternity Conference and those local chapters that have membership on the council. Member chapters send two delegates, one usually being the chapter president, to council meetings. The council officers are elected from the membership of the council and serve in office for one calendar year. The IFC coordinates recruitment for the member chapters, sets standards, and facilitates relationships. The IFC cooperates with other councils to sponsor Greek Week, guest speakers, and other activities. 10

11 Multicultural Greek Council The fraternity movement at the University is almost as old as the institution itself. Fraternity and sorority chapters are open to all matriculating students at the University. However, there are fraternities and sororities that specifically serve the needs and interests of specific multicultural-based communities. These organizations are a part of a larger network of international fraternities and sororities that have collegiate and graduate chapters throughout the country and abroad. Affiliating with a Multicultural Greek Council fraternity or sorority presents the member with an opportunity to meet with other students of diverse backgrounds from this campus and other campuses as well as people from the greater community. Every MGC fraternal organization has very strict requirements that must be met in order to affiliate (the intake process). In general, a student must successfully complete 12 academic credit hours, obtain a certain grade point average, complete an application packet, secure recommendations, and meet the financial obligations in order to complete the intake process. If you are a brand new student to the University, you will not be able to apply for membership until your second semester. If you are a transfer student, you will need a copy of your academic transcript from your previous institution, documenting your completion of 12 credit hours and your grade point average. The governing councils of the MGC fraternity and sorority system sponsor an information session for all students in the fall. Representatives from each chapter are in attendance and available to discuss their organization with you. Additionally, each chapter will host an information session that will be open to all interested students. These sessions are advertised through the campus newspaper and through postings. National Pan-Hellenic Council The National Pan-Hellenic Council, Incorporated is currently composed of nine (9) International Greek letter Sororities and Fraternities: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. The NPHC promotes interaction through forums, meetings and other mediums for the exchange of information and engages in cooperative programming and initiatives through various activities and functions. Panhellenic Council The Panhellenic Council is the governing body of the sorority chapters which belong to the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) or chapters which have chosen to affiliate with the council. Council officers are elected from the membership of the chapters and serve a one-year term. The chapters/council conducts a week-long formal recruitment process in the fall semester. Members from the chapters assist prospective new members (PNMs) by serving as recruitment counselors, also known as Rho Gammas. The Rho Gammas assist PNMs with the navigation of the recruitment process, which allows PNMs to see every chapter at least once. The Panhellenic Council sponsors events and activities for the system and serves as a coordinating body with the other councils. 11

12 Programs: UMASS FTK (For the Kids) sponsors the UDance program and is open to all students. A steering committee guides the organization through the year. The program/udance event raised over $83,000 for the Children s Miracle Network/Baystate Children s Hospital in Spring The Order of Omega Honor Society is open to the 3% of the fraternity and sorority membership who excel in leadership, service, and academics. Additional Affiliates The fraternity and sorority program also advises Phi Sigma Pi Honor Fraternity (FSP), Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity (AFW), the marching band fraternity/sorority: Kappa Kappa Psi/Tau Beta Sigma (KKY/TBS), and Omega Delta Sigma (WDS) veteran s fraternity. Departmental Departmental student organizations are student organizations that have not gained recognition by the SGA, SA&I or Graduate Student Senate (GSS). These organizations are housed within a specific department at UMass. Departmental organizations have some of the same benefits as all other recognized organizations except for the ability to apply for funding. Funding accounts must be housed by the sponsoring department. The sponsoring department is solely responsible for the student organization s activity and presence on campus. Awards for Registered Student Organizations The Student Life Award Ceremony (Sammies) is held annually in an effort to highlight the outstanding work of UMass students, registered student organizations, and other campus agencies. These are some of the many awards: The Award for Outstanding New RSO The Award for Outstanding RSO Event of the Year The UMass Amherst Spirit Award The Award for outstanding student Engagement Undergraduate Student Employee The Eunice R. Konieczny Student Leadership Award. Section 3: Organizational Practices, Recruitment, Meetings, and Conflict Officer Responsibilities Officer responsibilities will vary depending on the size and culture of the organization. A president of a 100-member organization will have different duties compared to a president of a 10-member organization. It is important to have a constitution that clearly outlines officer responsibilities and to revisit these responsibilities semi-annually. Below are some general responsibilities each position may have. President Oversee executive board meeting Meet and communicate regularly with Advisor Delegate tasks when appropriate Assist in budgeting process 12

13 Represent organization in big picture meetings Re-register organization yearly on Campus Pulse Take advantage of collaborative opportunities Vice President Assist president when needed Oversee general body meeting Manage day-to-day responsibilities of organization Act as liaison to general body members Assist in budgeting process Responsible for building camaraderie within executive board and general membership Secretary Treasurer Maintain RSO Campus Pulse profile page Communicate updates to President and Vice President Take and distribute minutes from the meetings Record attendance at meetings and events Send out s from the organization Maintain a membership roster on Campus Pulse Store documents that preserve important policies & procedures for future officers, such as the steps to be taken in holding an annual event Check monthly account balances with Business Center Staff Monitor Summit (online record of income, expenses, and fund balances) Maintain financial records Submit request for funding forms to SGA and represent organization at hearings Give balance updates at meetings Oversee fundraising efforts Other Positions to Consider Event Coordinator become an expert on knowing how to plan events at UMass and the policies associated with event planning Philanthropy - if the organization is philanthropic, this board member will lead those efforts Advocacy - a board member that advocates on behalf of the student organization Recruitment - charged with recruiting and organization activities fairs and general recruitment efforts Publicity - does general advertising for organization and specific advertising for events held by the organization Safety Officer required for all Club Sport RSOs, must be certified in CPR/First Aid/AED and document and report all accidents and injuries 13

14 Outside Advisors Student Activities and Involvement encourages all recognized student organizations to have an outside advisor. An outside advisor can be a full-time employee of UMass, either as a faculty member or staff member or a member of the Amherst community. RSO coaches and instructors are considered outside advisors. Student organizations are run and managed by students themselves, but outside advisors can play a key role in offering guidance and advice. Student organization advising is not a science; there is no equation that can be applied to make a successful advisor/advisee relationship; instead it is the art of human development and understanding the changing needs of a group. Advisors are also often seen as the knowledge holder for the group because of the transitory nature of student organizations; however, it is important to remember that RSOs are student run organizations. Here are some typical roles that advisors often find themselves in: Maintaining a consistent mentor relationship with organization officers (president, treasurer, etc.) Assisting in university policy interpretation for the group Mediating internal conflict Providing expertise in a specific area of study Assisting in connecting group with campus resources Advocating for the group within the university, department, or community Acting as the primary contact source from university administration in times of crisis, discipline, or disorganization. It is recommended that students and advisors meet regularly (weekly, biweekly, monthly) to update each on the progress and status of the organization. The consistency and regularity that student and advisors should meet will vary depending on the nature of the organization and the schedules of each. Selecting an Outside Advisor Along with your assigned SA&I Advisor your organization should seek an outside advisor. While there is a benefit of having consistency from year to year, sometimes an advisor can get too busy, go on a sabbatical, leave UMass, or is no longer able to support the student organization. If the student organization is looking to find a faculty or staff member that has similar interests as the organization, the corresponding department is a natural place to start. For example, if the organization is a performance group, the theater department may be ideal. Similarly if the organization is focused around a specific population, an identity center or language department may be best. Whatever the case may be, it s important that the advisor and the students meet to discuss what the expectations are of each other. Liability Advisors do have potential liability exposure, and should understand their obligations to actively and effectively provide advice ( legal duty of care ) to the organization. Depending on the intended scope, comments could be as simple as to the extent advisors become the subject of claims or other liabilities as a result of their role, they are covered by the University s liability insurance programs so long as the alleged acts giving rise to the claims/liabilities fall within the scope of their official duties. In addition to supporting student organizations, Student Activities also provides support and resources for student organizations advisors. If advisors have any questions, they can contact any of SA&I staff members. 14

15 RSO Risk Management Physical Physical risks can include things such as food poisoning, injuries that may result from physical activities, injuries that may result from travel related accidents. It is important to ALWAYS take the appropriate precautions when your organization is selling/distributing food, hosting an athletic competition, or traveling for organization sponsored events. Student Activities and Involvement requires a participation agreement for all field trips or off-campus events to notify participants of potential risks in certain activities. Reputation Reputational risks are those that may result in negative publicity for your organization, members of the organization, UMass, your advisor, or the venue where the event is held. Consult with your advisor if your organization has any question about the appropriateness of a flyer, an event name, or nature of an event. If you re hesitant about asking your advisor, it s probably not appropriate. Emotional Emotional risks are those things that can cause a participant at your event or in your organization to feel alienated or cause emotional stress from the activity. Emotional stress (among other things) is a direct result of hazing and hazing-like activities. While an event or group activity may not be physically dangerous, emotional stress can have just a large an impact. Financial Financial risks are those things that negatively impact the fiscal stability of your organization and/or other organizations financially supporting your organization. It is imperative that the organization s treasurer and rest of the executive board, including the advisor, stay informed and vigilant about all aspects of the organization s financial health. There are instances where unaccounted expenses may be charged to the organization s account and put the organization in a deficit. An example of this would be when an organization uses a venue for free, but incurs a cleaning fee because the venue was left messy after the event. If the treasurer doesn t regularly check the organization s balance on Summit, the organization runs the risk of an overdraft which can put your RSO in poor standing with SA&I and UMass service providers such as the Campus Center and providers of meeting and event space. Student Activities Trust Fund (SATF) Financial Advisor Casey Gaw is the new Student Activities Trust Fund (SATF) Financial Advisor. This position was created to better support RSO s in their financial needs, including providing guidance on financial processes, opportunities for funding, and help with future financial planning. Casey provides financial advising for the Student Government Association (SGA) and serves as a primary staff resource for student budget processes that recommend the allocation of mandatory student activities fees exceeding $2.5 million annually. Casey develops and provides training for RSO officers and members on various financial practices and issues throughout the year. She also collaborates with other Student Engagement Staff and seeks to educate, advise and counsel students on acquiring individual life skills, leadership skills, and to promote organizational development within student groups. RSO students are encouraged to meet with Casey anytime to discuss any problems or ask any questions. She is located in Student Union 416 and can be reached by at or by phone at Walk-ins are also always welcome! 15

16 Facilities Facility risks are those things that may prevent event from being held (weather, fire code, etc) or cause property damage. If your event or activity is held outside, it s important to have a rain location or another date reserved in case of poor weather conditions. It is also important to pick an appropriate venue for the nature of your event as to prevent any damage to the facility and thus incur maintenance fees. include a list of facilities according to the type of the event. Ex: SUB, CCA, Mullins Ice Arena, Athletic Field Space, Academic rooms, etc. Mitigating Risk There are several ways to mitigate risk but the basics of risk management come down to a cyclical process. Assess, Evaluate, Manage, and Measure. Managing risk is not an end product rather, it s a constant process. First the organization needs to create a measurement of risk. Determine what is considered risky and what is not. If the organization has issues with this measurement, SA&I staff members will be happy to assist with this process. With any event or activity put on by the organization the organizers should always assess the risk involved. Next evaluate how risky the different components of the event are. Finally determine how to manage and eliminate risks. Events and activities are one of the most important aspects for registered student organizations at UMass in creating a community, providing leadership development opportunities for members, and sending a message about what the organization values. There are just as many different types of registered student organizations on the UMass campus, as there are a variety of events that registered student organizations and their members may host or attend throughout the year. Each event offers unique opportunities and challenges. Therefore, it is important for registered student organizations and their members to plan carefully for any potential risk; consider how the event may reflect on the organization; and utilize the many resources available for planning assistance when hosting events on or off-campus. Hazing Hazing is a serious infraction of university regulations. The potential for hazing typically arises as part of a student s introduction to or initiation in an organization (fraternity, sorority, athletic team, or other group) in which there is often a perceived or real power differential between members of the organization and those newly joining it. University Hazing Policy All students are subject to the following act of the Massachusetts Legislature (General Court) which makes hazing a crime. Action may be initiated for alleged violation(s) of this act under applicable sections of the Code of Student Conduct. Students may also be subject to lawsuits by victims of hazing. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows: Definition The term "hazing" as used in this section and in sections eighteen and nineteen, shall mean any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug, or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or 16

17 forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any prosecution under this action. Penalty Whoever is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing, as defined herein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both such fine and imprisonment. Duty to report Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to him/herself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars. Notice Each institution of secondary education and each public and private institution of post secondary education shall issue to every student group, student team or student organization which is part of such institution or is recognized by the institution or permitted by the institution to use its name or facilities or is known by the institution to exist as an unaffiliated student group, student team or student organization, a copy of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen; provided, however, that an institution's compliance with this section's requirements that an institution issue copies of this section and sections seventeen and eighteen to un-affiliated student groups, teams or organizations shall not constitute evidence of the institution's recognition or endorsement of said unaffiliated student groups, teams or organizations. Levels of Hazing Hazing activities and situations include, but are not limited to: Level I Marching in line Road trips Wearing apparel which is conspicuous and not normally in good taste, and/or inappropriate for the time of year Calisthenics Line-ups Pledge/signature books Periods of silence Standing for a length of time Personal servitude Activities that would not normally constitute hazing but because of time, place, or manner make them inappropriate Level II Sleep deprivation or interruption of consecutive sleep hours 17

18 Expected or forced consumption of food, drink (including alcohol), or other substance Acts of humiliation or degradation (including streaking or wearing degrading or humiliating apparel) Restrictions on eating or bathing Acts that disrupt academic instruction or learning of others Interruption of or interference with academic commitments Level III Branding Paddling in any form Compromising (sexual) situations Any individual or group found responsible for hazing will be subject to sanctions outlined in the disciplinary process, including, but not limited to: disciplinary probation, social suspension, suspension of charter, restrictions on member recruitment and/or group activity, removal of the individual from the group, loss of housing privileges, suspension, and/or expulsion. Sanctioning will increase with the level of violation and any previous hazing violations. (Levels of violation listed above are guidelines only and may change given particular circumstances of a violation.) Acts or potential acts of hazing may be reported to the Dean of Students Office ( ) or UMass Police (911 or ). You can also discuss hazing or potential hazing with your SA&I Advisor. Alternatives to Hazing In general, groups should design new member activities that focus on the mission, purpose and function of the organization. If an activity doesn t reflect favorably on the reason the group exists then another activity should be used. Commitment and dedication to the group s values and purposes will come from actually engaging in activities that promote those values and purposes. Ropes/Challenge Course Intramural sports through Campus Recreation Attend UMass sporting events Do a hands-on service project for the elderly, children, etc. Attend campus special events (plays, concerts, lectures) as a group Invite alumni to campus for Homecoming activities Educational programming regarding the history of the group and/or the University Movie Night Group Dinners Community, campus or facility beautification projects (adopt a road, habitat for humanity) Participate in a mentoring program (Adapted from the University of Michigan s See through the Haze publication) For more information about the University Hazing Policy please read the Code of Student Conduct: Recruitment Recruitment refers to the process of contacting, screening and selecting qualified members for an organization. A few well-known ways to recruit are: 18

19 Word of mouth: one of the best ways to recruit members. Have your RSO members pass on information about your organization; people are more likely to join if they already know at least one member. Advertise: a great way for RSOs to catch the attention of new members. Through Campus Pulse Through social media Through tabling in the Campus Center Concourse At the Activities Expo Event Recruiting: works to create a larger membership base. At your events, whether on or off campus, try to encourage new people to join your club Provide easily accessible information about your organization at events Running Effective Meetings Before the meeting: Define the purpose of the meeting Develop an agenda with the officers and advisor Choose an appropriate meeting time and length Choose a location that is easily accessible for all members Advertise the time and place of the meeting to your members During the meeting: Greet members and make them feel welcome Start on time and end on time Review and follow the agenda and set priorities for the meeting Encourage group discussion and feedback If non-agenda issues/questions threaten your timeline, note them down for the next meeting s agenda Keep minutes of the meeting in case a question or problem arises Summarize the accomplishments of the meeting and end on a unifying or positive note After the meeting: Send minutes of the meeting to all group members in case a question or problem arises Discuss any problems that came up during the meeting and brainstorm ways to approach them Put unfinished business on the agenda for the next meeting Managing Conflict The 8 essential steps to conflict resolution 1. Create an effective atmosphere 2. Clarify perceptions of the conflict a. What is everyone s perception of the conflict? Is it relevant? 3. Focus on individual and shared needs 4. Build shared positive power 19

20 a. Seek to promote the constructive capabilities of all parties involved in the conflict 5. Look to the future, learn from the past a. Use the past to see what might have gone wrong and focus on the present and future to act on the realization of the past 6. Generate options a. All parties must creatively suggest and imagine a wide range of ways to resolve the conflict. 7. Develop achievable action steps Action steps should a. Stand a good chance of being accomplished b. Not favor one party at the expense of other parties c. Meet both shared and individual needs d. Require the participation of all parties involved 8. Make mutually beneficial agreements a. Mutually beneficial agreements must be built on clarified perceptions of the conflict, the parties involved in the conflict, and the specific steps each party has agreed to take to improve the relationship. Delegation Delegation (or passing down) is the sharing of authority and responsibility to another person (normally from a manager to the person they supervise) to carry out specific activities. It is one of the core concepts of leadership. However the person who delegated the work remains accountable for the outcome of the delegated work. Delegation empowers another person to make decisions, i.e. it is a shift of decision-making authority from one organizational level to a lower one. Delegation, if properly done, is not abdication. The opposite of effective delegation is micromanagement, where a manager provides too much input, direction, and review of delegated work. In general, delegation is good and can save money and time, help in building skills, and motivate people. Poor delegation, on the other hand, might cause frustration and confusion to all the involved parties When should you delegate? Ask yourself 4 questions: 1. Does the task provide an opportunity to help someone grow and develop skills? 2. Is this a task that will happen again in the future? 3. Is there enough time to delegate the task effectively? 4. Is this a task that needs to be done by you? How should you delegate? Clearly articulate the desired outcome Clearly identify constraints and boundaries If possible, include other members in the delegation process Match the amount of responsibility with the amount of authority Establish and maintain reporting structure and control Leadership Transitioning In order to ensure the continued success of your RSO it is important for the transition between new and old leadership to go smoothly. RSOs often fail because there was no communication between leaders, or because old leaders left the RSO rapidly and without passing on important information. For an effective transition process your RSO should do the following: 20

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